In the last two years, Nepal increased its score in Open Budget Index (OBI) from 24 (in 2015) to 52.
- The OBI is the world’s only independent and comparative measure of budget transparency.
- It was conducted by the Freedom Forum, a Civil Society Organization working in the area of public financial management as a representative of the International Budget Partnership (IBP).
- It uses Internationally accepted criteria developed by multilateral organizations from sources such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), and the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT).
How it works:
- Each country gets a score out of 100 that determines its ranking on the Open Budget Index.
- The score is calculated based on budget transparency, people’s participation in budget process and strengths of budget oversight agencies (the Supreme Audit Institution and Legislature).
- The average score on the OBS report is 42.
- So, Nepal is moderately over average.
- With this, Nepal tops the list of South Asian countries on the Open Budget Survey (OBS).
- It is closely followed by Afghanistan (49), India (48), Pakistan (44), Sri Lanka (44) and Bangladesh (41).
In the Past:
- Nepal had a score of 24 in 2015, 44 in 2012, 45 in 2010, 43 in 2008 and 36 in 2006.
- Though in this index, data should not be compared directly to data from earlier editions.
Problems in Budget:
- Though the report gives good news, it also reveals problems in Nepal’s budgeting.
- Nepal still provides the public with limited budget information.
- Nepal has failed to make progress in producing a Pre-Budget Statement and a Citizens Budget.
- The Executive’s Budget Proposal was not provided to legislators at least two months before the start of the budget year.
- The legislative committees did not examine and publish reports on their analyses of the Executive’s Budget Proposal online.
- The legislature provided weak oversight during the planning stage and implementation stage of the budget cycle.
Nepal has shown significant improvement in budgeting however there are still areas where it needs work. But with budget transparency and by strengthening its agencies, Nepal can do much better. Fore more information, you can view Nepal’s OBI profile.